Jesse Mazer writes:

> But just because you can map any physical activity to any computation with 
> the right mapping function, that doesn't necessarily mean that some physical 
> processes don't contribute more to the measure of certain observer-moments 
> than others--Chalmers would say that there are "psychophysical laws" 
> governing the relationship between physical processes and conscious 
> experiences, and they might specify that a physical process has to meet 
> certain criteria which a rock doesn't in order to qualify as an 
> instantiation of a given mind. Although there is some difficulty figuring 
> out exactly what these criteria would be (matching counterfactuals, for 
> example?), it doesn't seem obviously hopeless, which is why I'm not ready to 
> accept Bruno's movie-graph argument or Maudlin's Olympia argument.

Clearly there is something to explain here, because there is a difference 
between a rock and a brain or computer, but it would be good if the difference 
could be explained without invoking ad hoc laws and making as few assumptions 
as possible. The simplest explanation that comes to mind is that a brain or 
computer can interact with its environment, and it is only those computations 
which interact with their environment of which we can be aware. A rock may be 
implementing all sorts of computations, including self-aware ones, but as far 
as communicating with it goes, its "mind" is effectively segregated in a 
separate, solipsistic universe. Similarly, when we consider our own thoughts 
every possible observer moment is implemented, but it is only those observer 
moments anchored in physical processes which can give a coherent stream of 
consciousness. This does not necessarily mean that there is a real physical 
universe, and even if there were it does not necessarily mean that our OMs are 
implemented by well-behaved physical computers rather than by random processes 
- because how could we know which one of multiple (or indeed infinite) 
computations is responsible for a particular OM? - but it would give the 
appearance that this was the case, since only those computations which *could* 
be the result of a well-behaved computer would be selected out (which is what I 
mean by "anchored in physical processes"). 

Stathis Papaioannou
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